JAPAN - Land of the Rising Sun
Japan is a fascinating country situated in north east Asia between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. It comprises of more than 4,000 islands, the main four being Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The Japanese name for Japan is ‘Nippon’ or ‘Nihon’ meaning ‘sun origin’ and is often translated into ‘Land of the Rising Sun’. With a population of approximately 127 million, Japan is the 10th most populated country in the world. It is a land of contrasts, an engaging combination of futuristic cities, ancient culture and diverse scenery. Japan is famous for its relatively short Cherry Blossom season. Flowers can bloom as early as January on the south island of Okinawa, or as late as May on the north island of Hokkaido. In major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, the Cherry Blossom season is generally in early April to mid-May, which makes this a popular time to travel.
Time - Japan is 1 hour behind Eastern Standard Time (EST) in Australia.
Located on the main island of Honshu, Tokyo, meaning ‘Eastern Capital’, was originally a small fishing village called Edo. Although it has had a turbulent past including the wrath of war and devastation of earthquakes, the city has risen and is today one of the world’s major metropolises.
Once the imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto is another city with a ravaged past. The city is home to over 2,000 places of worship, comprising of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.
The modern day city of Osaka, meaning ‘large hill’ or ‘large slope’, is Japan’s third largest city. Established as a major industrial and cultural centre in 1889, it is also home to one of Japan’s most famous castles, Osaka Castle, which was originally built in 1593.
Kanazawa is an important city in the Hokoriku Region and serves as the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture. Kanazawa is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and is a City of Crafts and Folk Art, boasting many historical attractions and is renowned for traditional handicrafts and traditional performing arts. Kanazawa's main attraction is Kenroku-en Garden, one of Japan’s top three gardens.
Koya-San, a UNESCO World Heritage listed mountain, site is home to over 100 temples and has been the centre of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect, for over 1,200 years. It is also home to Japan’s largest rock garden and the Garan Temple Complex. Koya-San is one of the best places to experience an overnight stay in a Buddhist temple lodge, known as a ‘shukubo’ and get a sense of a monk’s lifestyle. The city is also home to Okunoin which is Japan’s largest cemetery, where you can find the mausoleum of the founder of Shingon Buddhism, Kobo Daishi.
Takayama is nestled high in the mountainous Hida alpine region of Japan. It has retained a traditional atmosphere unlike many other Japanese cities, especially in the beautifully preserved old town. It is the perfect location to soak in hot spring baths (onsen), after a long day of sightseeing.
JAPAN Group Tours
JAPAN Short Stays
Private short stay packages for the independent traveller.